Good Samaritan Hospital is seeing an uptick in patient volume.

CEO Rob McLin, following a very short meeting of the hospital’s board of governors Thursday afternoon, said hospital volume — meaning the number of patients coming through the doors for treatment — is back up to about 90% of what it was pre-COVID-19.

“We’re busy, and that’s a good thing,” he said.

Amid the widespread shutdown associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, the hospital largely eliminated outpatient and elective procedures in an effort to prepare for a surge in the coronavirus here.

At its lowest, the hospital was experiencing about half its normal patient volume.

In May, the hospital began loosening those restrictions, and McLin said they’ve watched volume increase steadily in the weeks since.

The one exception, he said, is in the emergency room where numbers are still down somewhat.

“And that’s not necessarily the worst thing,” he said, adding that it could mean that more people are going to one of Good Samaritan’s two convenient care clinics — one at 1813 Willow St. and another at Williams Bros. Pharmacy, 1216 Washington Ave. — for non-emergent conditions, things like upper respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms.

That said, McLin did want to remind people that the ER is open, and physicians and nurses there are ready to see anyone experiencing a health emergency.

“No, we don’t want you to run to the ER for a non-emergent issue,” he said. “But if you’re having chest pains or whatever it might be, don’t avoid the ER due to COVID because we have taken every precaution.”

McLin, too, took heart in the increase in patient volume — and the uptick in revenue that goes along with it.

The hospital, for the most part, has fared well the COVID-19 storm with revenues in the first quarter of this year down only slightly from 2019.

“I think we’ve gotten as close to normal as we’re going to get,” he said, “at least until we have a vaccine.

“We’re getting back to financial normalcy and working toward off-setting those significant costs we incurred when shutting down in March. Revenue is better. Finances are better. We’ve gone through a tough patch with COVID, but we’re doing better.”
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